Visit Grand Teton National Park's Jenny Lake
When winter’s snow melts away, Grand Teton National Park’s Jenny Lake District comes to life with vibrant wildflower meadows, hikes to lakes and waterfalls, backcountry camping adventures and much more.
A short drive north of Jackson, Jenny Lake and its trailheads, lakes and campgrounds are one of the park’s most popular sites. The Jenny Lake Visitor Center is open mid-May through mid-September, where you can pick up trail maps and advice, get camping information, hear a ranger talk about the area’s geology and wildlife, become a Junior Ranger (ages eight–12) and warm yourself by the fire on brisk mountain mornings.
Things to Do at Jenny Lake
Four trailheads start at the lake, offering trips for all abilities alongside the lake, creeks, waterfalls and stunning Grand Teton mountain vistas. To shave a couple miles off the hike and keep your legs fresh for exploring, skip the hike around the lake and take the shuttle boat across it. The shuttle leaves from the visitor center and motors to trailheads on the western side. A few options:
Families can take the moderate, two-mile round-trip hike to Hidden Falls’ 200-foot misty cascade. Consider going another half mile to Inspiration Point for a great view of the lake from above. The Jenny Lake Loop Trail, which can be as long as six and a half miles, is relatively flat and easy, with off shooting trails to String Lake and Leigh Lake, as well.
For more intermediate/advanced hikers, the Cascade Canyon Trail cuts nine miles through a backcountry canyon; the five-mile Taggart and Bradley Lakes Trail is a quiet loop through glacially carved terrain; and the nearly 10-mile Amphitheater Lake Trail, which climbs above tree line for panoramic views of the area.
You can rent a canoe or kayak right near the visitor center to explore Jenny Lake’s coves and views (you can also launch your own boat if you get a permit and it’s less than 10hp). Non-motorized boats can also be launched on nearby String and Leigh lakes. You can fish for cutthroat and lake trout from your boat or from the shoreline of any of the area’s lakes.
Jenny Lake Campground has space for 50 tents on a first-come, first-served basis just a short walk from the lake. Backcountry camping is allowed, but you must register your trip at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station, and it’s recommended you make a reservation in advance.
There are two main scenic drives in the area. The four-mile Jenny Lake Scenic Loop meanders around the lake’s eastern shore, and the five-mile Signal Mountain Summit Road has scenic overlooks perfect for viewing Jackson Hole in the distance. Both, of course, have amazing views of the surrounding mountains.
This rustic four-diamond resort is located inside the park’s borders. Rooms range from single and double cabins to luxurious suites, all with perks like down comforters, breakfast and five-course dinner, horseback rides, bike rentals. Those not staying at the lodge can still swing by the dining room for an excellent meal (reservations required).
More Things to Do
These activities are just the tip of the iceberg. For information on others, including wildlife watching, climbing and mountain biking, check out Grand Teton National Park online.